Internet search results don't give much results of real life examples of bladeless turbine. Has anyone ever seen a working real example of Tesla's bladeless turbine, in some industrial or other application? How did it perform? What was the application?


  • $\begingroup$ So we do your research? What have you found? Saves us repeating the same search results... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Apr 7 '19 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't found much, except some concepts yet to be seen. That's why I wanted to know if anyone from engineering/scientific background has seen such a device in his life. $\endgroup$ – Marino Klisovich Apr 7 '19 at 18:32
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    $\begingroup$ You won't find it in any applications in modern machinery. It was a crutch, meant to be easy and cheap to manufacture in simple machine workshops, but that simplicity came at severe hit to its efficiency. As advanced machining methods improved, it entirely fell out of use in industry, and only occurs in amateur applications and as a historical curiosity. Moreover, it was invented at a time when it was nearly obsolete already, so it never saw any widespread adoption. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jan 2 '20 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ As an engineer, I disagree with SF. Tesla's work was well ahead of its time. He had patented a machine with many parts across many countries. The sum of his patents remains a mystery but each one opens a key to another aspect of the whole system. What few people recognised was that Tesla was secretive but certainly not a fool. His designs are often old by modern standards but the concepts were seldom tested commercially. The fact that we operate on AC current is testament to his foresight but he also knew a great deal about something that few knew and today, nobody alive knows what he patented $\endgroup$ – Rhodie Jan 31 '20 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Rhodie: Are you talking (as an engineer) about Tesla's works in general or specifically about the turbine? Because I really don't see how AC current and his number of patents fits into efficiency of the turbine vs other models available at the time. Because I can say (as an engineer) that a track record of having excellent ideas doesn't make one immune from occasionally having some poor ideas. $\endgroup$ – SF. Feb 6 '20 at 12:07

An inspection of his patent reveals that his pump relies on the viscosity of the fluid to perform work- that is, the fluid is coupled to the impelling cylinder by shear forces alone. This means the fluid being pumped is being strongly sheared whenever the pump is running, and this inevitably produces significant frictional losses.

There are many other ways of pumping fluid in which the pumping forces are not generated by viscosity, and hence will not suffer the efficiency losses of Tesla's scheme.

The overall efficiency limit of this thermodynamic process can be accurately determined by calculating the carnot efficiency for the process, which limit holds regardless of the details of the process steps. This is given by:

Carnot efficiency =

(source temperature - sink temperature)/(source temperature * sink temperature)

where the source temperature is the temperature of the "hot side" of the cycle and the sink temperature is the temperature at which the cycle dumps its waste heat. All temperatures are in degrees absolute (Kelvin).

  • $\begingroup$ So what would happen with a rheopectic fluid... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Apr 7 '19 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ It would increase frictional behaviour and slow the rotation of the discs down, I presume? $\endgroup$ – Rhodie Jan 31 '20 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ By increasing the fluid density an Higher energy transmission is provided. To this end we used cold steam since it is about 10× as dense as air. I was considering Ammonia also, amongst other compounds but ideally water is a resource readily avaliable and recoverable from dirty sources. The concept here is sustainable energy and a cleaner environment for net positive gains against current systems $\endgroup$ – Rhodie Jan 31 '20 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ Have you performed a thermodynamic cycle analysis to determine the efficiency of the process? $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Jan 31 '20 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ Niels, would you be so kind as to educate me by adding that thermodynamics thing to your answer, please? $\endgroup$ – Rhodie Feb 2 '20 at 15:58

Yes, we are working on creating a new type of power supply using cold steam and negative pressure. There are two tanks with a Tesla turbine between them. The links between the tanks are evacuated to 25 inches of mercury (0.85 bar) with water in the primary tank that boils rapidly and the steam passes through the turbine to produce mechanical energy such as would be applied to standard steam turbines. The difference is that this system has one moving part and can operate bearingless almost regardless of the turbine mass.

The peak performance turbine output unloaded is estimated at 1kW. So a thousand of these would generate 1 MW but there are plans underway to increase efficiency and tank volume adding disk size to nozzle ratios to discover the best output configuration.

I suspect that a ratchet-type centrifugal clutch flywheel may help with fluctuations in output.

I have asked some questions regarding this turbine.

  • $\begingroup$ This is pretty much a link only answer. It would be much better if you could summarize the contents of the video and explain why it is relevant to the question. $\endgroup$ – Eric S Jan 31 '20 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Eric. I appreciate your help. $\endgroup$ – Rhodie Jan 31 '20 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Much better. Can you comment on the relative efficiency of your system? I’m interested. $\endgroup$ – Eric S Jan 31 '20 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ We are working on all the technical issues and until we settle for our best design, all results are purely fictional. $\endgroup$ – Rhodie Jan 31 '20 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate that, but if might have performed at least a theoretical best case estimate. $\endgroup$ – Eric S Jan 31 '20 at 22:28

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